Two things you’ll absolutely require when playing Kosmos Games’ Dimension would be an absolutely flat level table and friends not prone to elbowing you in the body anywhere while you’re racing to stack colored balls while reading cards that tell you how to stack them. Once you have those all sorted out it’s all fun and games and no one is getting hurt. Dimension is a really interesting hybrid of spatial puzzle and fast-paced ball placement for 1-4 players that will test even the most skilled minds with following a handful of simple rules. All you need to do is stack 15 colored balls as you can while paying close attention to the precise instructions set forth by the rule cards laid out for each session.
Blue can’t touch orange, you can only have two black balls on your tray, none of those colors can touch a white ball and so forth and so on. All of this while a timer is ticking away and someone is probably trying to pull off a cheat that won’t work under any sort of scrutiny because they’re LAME! Yeah, I’m talking about you, you know who. Anyway, Dimension is simple to set up and you can get playing in about five or so minutes. However if you buy this game specifically to play with younger kids, make sure you or some other adult does the assembling. If you just whip out the box on your jaded brood the kids will probably end up just rolling the balls under the couch with the cat chasing after them and call it a day. I say dazzle those kids with some freshly baked cookies or other treats while you put the game together in another room before surprising them with their soon to be new obsession.
It doesn’t take long to get rolling here, although that’s also where that absolutely flat surface noted above comes into play. Everyone gets 15 colored balls on their tray and scoring tokens and rule cards are laid out. Expect to spend a few minutes before your first play session explaining the rules and maybe doing a trial scoreless game to make sure everyone knows what’s up. Once you’re all ready to go that hourglass gets turned and it’s off to the races. Per the rules you score a point for each sphere you use and a bonus token for using all five colors, but you lose two points for each task card you don’t follow correctly. This makes for some tense and quietly hectic play sessions where you’ll be focused hard on your own play while eyeballing someone who may be doing it quicker and better or worse. Do you let them know they’ve messed up somewhere along the line or do you hope that wicked grin you’re now wearing doesn’t get them double checking their ball placement?
A game session takes about half an hour or less and yes indeed, things can get heated as points are tallied. The gameplay is so laser focused that you might not notice someone trying to cheat by watching others before making their moves. A bit of crafty thinking in placing a few balls intentionally incorrectly staved that off (at the cost of a win in one case). But that person certainly didn’t try that again. Provided your spatial thinking is working like a charm there’s more than enough time to reorganize any mislaid balls if you’re not sure about something. One of the more amusing bits during the play sessions here was someone breaking out and singing RUN DMC’s “It’s Tricky” during their first game which cracked everyone up. As i was laughing at the unexpected serenade I thought for a second that that particular song would make a perfect TV spot for Dimension and of course, it was a big fat Diversion because we all got beat badly by that wannabe rapper.
Anyway, as board games go, Dimension makes for an excellent brain-twister as well as a fine way to reel in friends and family alike. You’ll more than likely be singing praises its way yourself if you’re a big fan of fast-paced puzzle games with a twist.